8/4 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella contract signing, Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper (Harper banned from ringside at SummerSlam if he loses), SummerSlam build continues
By Jason Powell
Prowrestling.net Live airs tonight at 10:30 p.m. CT (11:30 p.m. ET) and your phone calls are welcome for the free audio show. Join host Jason Powell tonight after Raw at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Austin, Texas at Frank Erwin Center
[Q1] Raw opened with a video package that recapped Randy Orton attacking Roman Reigns on last week's show... Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler were on commentary...
Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins, Kane, and Randy Orton delivered an in-ring promo. Hunter immediately hyped that you can see SummerSlam on WWE Network. Hunter said he believes this could be the biggest SummerSlam card in history. He ran through some of the matches.
Hunter said Seth Rollins gave him a good idea. He said there will be Beat The Clock Challenge matches involving Rollins and Dean Amborse with the winner getting to pick the stipulation for their SummerSlam match. Ambrose faces Alberto Del Rio, Rollins faces Rob Van Dam in the challenge matches.
Stephanie took the mic and started to talk and was shut down by loud booing. "I know, I'm happy to see you too," she said. Stephanie pointed out the cowboy boots she wore because they are in Texas. Hunter delivered his third pitch of the show for SummerSlam being available on WWE Network and the crowd chanted along when he said "for just $9.99." Funny. A short time later, Hunter delivered the pitch again and let the crowd say the $9.99 part for him.
Randy Orton guaranteed that he will continue to "methodically decimate" Roman Reigns. He started to boast about what he did to Reigns last week when he was interrupted by Reigns' entrance music. Reigns made his entrance through the crod and stopped halfway down the aisle where he stood and glared into the ring.
Reigns said he's still standing. He recalled Hunter talking about great deals and said he was going to do even better by beating Orton's ass for free tonight. Hunter said Reigns would have Orton in the ring at SummerSlam, but tonight he would face a demon. He looked at Kane and said he expects to see a demon tonight. Hunter announced Reigns vs. Kane in a Last Man Standing match for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: A good opening segment with plenty of hype for WWE Network. Of course, you have to question whether the heel owners of the company are the right people to make the pitch since it's odd to expect fans to want to put money in their pockets. It's very important for WWE to push the network aggressively over the next two weeks since no other pay-per-view event on the schedule for the remainder of the year means as much historically as SummerSlam.
[Q2] 1. Roman Reigns vs. Kane in a Last Man Standing match. The bell rang right after the break ended. The broadcast team continued the hard sell for the WWE Network. Reigns was the aggressor early and whipped Kane into the ringside barricade. Kane came back and returned the favor, then grabbed a kendo stick and battered Reigns with it repeatedly.
Reigns bled from the forehead area. Reigns made a comeback and tossed Kane over the barricade heading into the break at 5:50. [C] Kane set up a table in the ring. Reigns put him down with a Samoan Drop. Reigns got back to his feet and went for the Superman punch, but Kane grabbed him and chokeslammed him through the table. Reigns barely beat the count.
Reigns came back with a Superman punch. Reigns went for a spear, but Kane caught him by the throat. Reigns broke free and speared Kane. The ref counted and Kane tried to pull himself up by the ropes but he was unable to do so...
Roman Reigns defeated Kane in a Last Man Standing match in 15:20.
[Q3] Cole hyped the Beat The Clock Challenge matches for later in the show, and hyped a look ahead to the SummerSlam main event and a sit-down interview with Lesnar for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Reigns and Kane practiced this match at Sunday's live event, as Dot Net reader Edward reminded me. Many of the key spots were described in our multiple live event reports from that show in San Antonio. The practice paid off as the crowd was really hot for the match.
A video package aired that featured Lesnar delivering comments in a UFC style sit-down interview. He said he doesn't respect anyone. He said if you want to wrap your head around his world, you have to understand that he enjoys hurting people. He said he has conquered everything put in front of him and he is coming off the biggest win of his career when he ended The Streak.
Lesnar said he knew he was going to beat Taker and everyone else did too, but no one wanted to believe it. "It's not rocket science, people, why wouldn't Brock Lesnar be able to beat The Undertaker?" Lesnar said. "Why wouldn't Brock Lesnar be able to beat John Cena at SummerSlam?"
John Cena was featured in the same sit-down setting. He said he is very fortunate to be where he is at and that's because he looks forward and see what's in front of him and that's it. He said Lesnar is the most difficult person he's been in the ring with and he's also the most gifted athlete he's been in the ring with.
Lesnar said he's going to rip Cena limb from limb. "And it's gonna be... it's going to be ugly people," he said. Cena said he knows what it takes to beat Lesnar. "Come get some," Cena said three times. He added that he wants to be the one who beat the one. Lesnar said he left WWE and went out and made a name for himself and returned to be champion. He said if he stayed there would be no John Cena.
Cena said Lesnar left at the right time, and that he's a mercenary. Cena spoke about working for 12 years and working every show. Lesnar said he's going to rip Cena apart at SummerSlam and then stand before him wearing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with pride. "I'm going to leave him in a pile of blood and urine and vomit," Lesnar concluded...
The broadcast team delivered another big pitch for WWE Network and Cole teased the network going global announcement for later in the show. They also hyped Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper for later in the show...
Powell's POV: Great UFC style hype work. I wish we would get more of that in pro wrestling, though it really did stand out and make this main event feel special because it's not something we see for every pay-per-view main event. Lesnar may not be a good live promo, but he really shines in the sit-down setting. Meanwhile, I don't like the way the announcers have turned the $9.99 price of the network into a joke. They should be driving home the value of the network and making it seem like a big deal rather than being so cutesy with it.
[Q4] [C] The Oklahoma fight song played. Damien Sandow walked out wearing an Oklahoma Sooners t-shirt and helmet. He told the Texas crowd that the Sooners have dominated the Red River Rivalry (college football rivalry game). He said there will no hook 'em horns, and the Sooners will stand tall. "Boomer Sooner," Sandow said repeatedly to a chorus of boos. Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Mark Henry and played up that he's a Texas native...
2. Mark Henry vs. Damien Sandow. Henry came to the ring wearing a Texas t-shirt. JBL called Sandow a Dr. Death (Steve Williams) wannabe. Henry plowed through Sandow and put him away with the World's Strongest Slam. Henry went to ringside and shook hands with a man at ringside...
Mark Henry defeated Damien Sandow in 0:45.
Powell's POV: I expected more Jim Ross mocking than we had here. Henry's return was over with the Texas crowd, but it wasn't exactly a hot return that has me anxious to see what's next for him.
Backstage, Adam Rose and the Rosebuds stood in front of a mirror and said it was haunted. He told them he was going to look into the mirror and they all cringed. "Halloween" music played. The screen got blurry and Rose saw himself in the mirror wearing a suit. He told the Rosebuds "that man was a lemon" and they all walked off together... The broadcast team hyped the contract signing... Dean Ambrose made his entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: The Adam Rose skit was pure crap. I haven't been this annoyed since they had Hornswoggle walk through a cartoon black hole in a wall backstage. That's channel changing material in my house.
Hulk Hogan's birthday celebration was advertised for next week's Raw along with "special surprise guests"...
Powell's POV: Just like tonight's Prowrestling.net Live is my birthday celebration! You never know who might call in! Okay, so Rabbitt and many of the regulars will call, but maybe President Obama will call in to swap birthday stories with me since we share the same birthday. No? Okay, well, you should call in and have some fun with me on my birthday later tonight.
3. Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Beat The Clock Challenge. Del Rio took the fight to ringside early on. He controlled the offense and worked over the chronically injured shoulder of Ambrose. Ambrose came back by whipping Del Rio into the barricade and suplexing him on the floor. Del Rio cut him off a couple minutes later with a superkick heading into the break. [C]
[Q6] Ambrose, who was bleeding from the bridge of his nose, hit his finisher on Del Rio for the win...
Dean Ambrose defeated Alberto Del Rio in 15:42.
Powell's POV: Apparently, no one bothered to tell Ambrose that the goal of a Beat The Clock Challenge was to win the match quickly, not hope that you wrestle long enough that the clock breaks.
A Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella recap video package aired... Rusev and Lana made their way to the ring... [C]
Lana and Rusev stood in the ring in front of the Russian flag. Lana set up photos of Barrack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Obama was holding a poodle, Putin was holding a leopard (or some type of cat - spare me your emails, cat experts). Lana noted that it's Obama's birthday. She sang Happy Birthday in Russian until Jack Swagger's music interrupted her. Once in the ring, Zeb Colter told Lana to shut up.
[Q7] Zeb said Russian men drink so much vodka because they're tired of hearing her shrill voice in their heads. Zeb said he's tired of hearing about Putin, Mother Russia, and Rusev Crush. Zeb delivered a speech about who Swagger is fighting for as various photos appeared on the screen of a construction worker, a nurse, and soldiers. Zeb closed with a We The People line, and the crowd followed with a USA chant.
Rusev jabbed his flagpole (not sexual innuendo) into Swagger and knocked him out of the ring. Rusev and Lana backed Zeb into the corner. Lana delivered a mocking We The People line at Zeb to close the segment... Cole hyped Jericho vs. Harper for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: I just voted for Zeb Colter and it's not even November.
A Hulk Hogan video package aired... The broadcast team hyped the worldwide launch of WWE Network in 170 different countries. JBL said the network will be available in the UK on October 1...
4. Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro. The Miz sat in on commentary and Cole noted that Miz would defend the Intercontinental Title against Ziggler at SummerSlam. Cesaro got cocky while holding up Ziggler for a suplex. Ziggler escaped and then put him down with the Zig Zag for the win. Miz entered the ring and ducked away when Ziggler teased a superkick...
Dolph Ziggler beat Cesaro in 2:10.
The broadcast team hyped SummerSlam and WWE Network, then set up footage from Smackdown of Paige attacking A.J. Lee on Smackdown...
[Q8] Backstage, Tom Phillips interviewed Paige, who wished "my best friend" Lee a speedy recovery. Paige said it's a dream come true to face her idol for the Divas Championship at SummerSlam. Paige skipped away... Goldust and Stardust were teased as returning to action after the break... [C]
5. Goldust and Stardust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel. Stardust has has added some silver to his gear. He finished off Axel with a move called Dark Matter.
Goldust and Stardust beat Ryback and Curtis Axel in 2:50.
Powell's POV: All those nonsensical backstage skits about the Cosmic Key and they return to face Rybaxel for the one billionth time.
Backstage, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were looking over paperwork when Kane entered the room. Kane removed his mask and wig and handed it to Stephanie. Kane left the room while Stephanie looked down at the mask... The broadcast team hyped Jericho vs. Harper... [C]
[Q9] The Kane unmasking clip was shown again. There was an awkward cut to the Slam of the Week featuring Jericho pinning Erick Rowan on Smackdown, causing Rowan to be banned from ringside during Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt at SummerSlam...
6. Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper (w/Erick Rowan). Jericho's jacket worked this week. Cole noted that Wyatt did not accompany Harper to ringside. Jericho locked in the Walls of Jericho on Harper. The Wyatt sounder played, then Wyatt appeared. Jericho caught Rowan sneaking up behind him and put him down with a Codebreaker.
Jericho hit a one-legged Codebreaker on Harper. Wyatt entered the ring and clotheslined Jericho for the DQ, then left him lying after Sister Abigail. Per match stipulations, Harper joins Rowan in being banned from ringside during the Jericho vs. Wyatt match at SummerSlam.
Chris Jericho beat Luke Harper by DQ in 5:20.
Cole hyped the contract signing for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: A shorter match than I expected, yet entertaining while it lasted. I guess they had to get the match finished quickly because Dean Ambrose took seemingly 85 minutes to win his Beat The Clock Challenge match earlier. Anyway, the Harper and Rowan banning stipulations would have meant more if Jericho had lost the first match as a result of their interference, but they still added a little something to their singles matches.
Cole announced that A.J. Lee will return on WWE Main Event on Tuesday night...
[Q10] 7. Diego (w/El Torito, Summer Rae, and Layla) vs. Fandango (w/Hornswoggle). A bald Hornswoggle danced onto the stage in Fandango-like gear and accompanied him to the ring. Hornswoggle distracted Diego momentarily, but he moved when Fandango charged at him, causing Fandango to collide with Hornswoggle. Diego hit a Backstabber on Fandango and pinned him.
Afterward, Summer and Layla tended to Hornswoggle on the floor. They brought Horny into the ring and after a brief staredown with Torito, Horny joined them all in dancing around Fandango. Moments later, Fandango shoved Hornswoggle down. Diego punched Fandango, then Torito caught him with a move off the top rope...
Diego pinned Fandango in 0:40.
Powell's POV: I'm pretty sure Torito just rubbed his little Torito on Layla after the match. "Don't say it," Cole told JBL after that awkward moment occurred.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Randy Orton, who set up footage of his attack on Reigns last week. Orton said Reigns better have his head on a swivel or else he might kick it off... Bo Dallas made his entrance... [C]
8. Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth. Footage aired of Truth pinning Bo last week. Bo rolled up Truth and held the, um, jeans for the win. After the match, Truth attacked Bo at ringside. Bo came back by shoving Truth into the ring steps and then performing the Bo-Dog off the steps and onto the floor...
Bo Dallas pinned R-Truth in 1:00.
The broadcast team hyped the contract signing...
[Q11] [C] A video featuring Rock and several WWE stars hyped WWE Network. The broadcast team hyped the network. Lawler said $9.99 while JBL held up a $9.99 sign...
Backstage, Bray Wyatt cut a promo about why the sheep run from the wolves. He said he is different. He said he is on his own at SummerSlam, but her hand guides him. "Chris, what am I?" Wyatt asked. "I'm Bray Wyatt and I'm the nightmare at the end of your dreams, beyond time I stand"...
The broadcast team hyped SummerSlam and the network show that features Cena beating Lesnar at Extreme Rules 2012. The Cena and Lesnar video package from earlier was shown... Rob Van Dam made his entrance... [C] Seth Rollins made his entrance. Just as the match was about to start, Justin Roberts announced that The Authority had replaced RVD with Heath Slater...
[Q12] 9. Seth Rollins vs. Heath Slater in a Beat The Clock Challenge. Rollins had to beat the time of 15:42. RVD left the ring as Slater made his entrance. Slater performed a neckbreaker for a two count. Dean Ambrose showed up at ringside, grabbed the MITB briefcase, pulled out the contract, and tore it up.
A distracted Rollins walked into a kick from Slater, which led to a two count. Ambrose grabbed a soda from a fan at ringside, took a swig, and poured the rest into the MITB briefcase. Ambrose grabbed popcorn from a fan and ate some while taunting Rollins. Ambrose dumped the popcorn into the briefcase as well.
Ambrose took JBL's hat and put it on his own head, then placed it inside the briefcase and sealed it closed. Ambrose twirled the briefcase over his head, causing the broadcast team to scurry as if they would melt if a drop of the soda touched their exposed skin. Meanwhile, Slater rolled up a distracted Rollins and pinned him. Afterward, Rollins threw a fit at ringside. Ambrose gets to pick the stipulation of his match with Rollins for SummerSlam...
Heath Slater pinned Seth Rollins in 4:42.
A commercial hyped the Hulk Hogan birthday special for next week's Raw... [C]
Powell's POV: Only a diehard RVD fan will be bothered by the bait and switch since Ambrose was entertaining and Slater pulled off the upset. Of course, there is a chance that viewers turned the channel when RVD was pulled from the match. Even so, I got a kick out of it.
[Overrun] Dean Ambrose will reveal his SummerSlam match stipulation on Friday's Smackdown television show... Lawler set up footage of the Cena vs. Lesnar match from Extreme Rules, which served as a teaser for the WWE Network special that would air after Raw...
Stephanie McMahon and Triple H headed to the ring for the contract signing. The Bella Twins were out next. The ring was set up in contract signing mode with office chairs and a table. Michael Cole served as the host or something. Triple H delivered another pitch for WWE Network and $9.99 (this time it got more boos and groans than chants). Hunter said he had to recuse himself from the proceedings, and introduced Cole, who officiated the signing.
Triple H said he wasn't standing there as COO, but rather as a loving, proud, and devoted husband. Brie asked if they could get to it before everyone started throwing up. Steph said she should know about being the supportive spouse since her "hippy dippy" husband was at home. Brie set up footage of Steph's arrest. Brie asked if Steph traded Triple H for her cellmate Big Beulah.
Brie said she's going to embarrass Stephanie in front of the entire universe and send the message that Steph is a fraud, a failure, and an embarrassment to the McMahon family. Brie said it's not just for her, Nikki, or Daniel Bryan, it's for Vickie Guerrero, Big Show, the Rhodes family, and for every other person on the roster that Stephanie has tortured. The fans chanted C.M. Punk.
Brie said karma always comes around and Steph's is about to come crashing down on her in ways she can't even imagine. Brie called Steph a stuck up, petty, conniving piece of trash. Stephanie mocked Brie and said she's sure all the great pro wrestling family names she mentioned will be thrilled to be honored "by the likes of you." Stephanie said Brie is a reality star who abandoned her husband and stole the spotlight from her sister.
Stephanie said Brie is a selfish and conceded woman. Stephanie said she's embarrassed to be in the same ring with Brie and will put an end to her pathetic attempt to make history. Stephanie signed the contract, then said she's going to tear Brie's heart out at SummerSlam. Stephanie picked up the contract holder and slammed it over Nikki's head. Triple H shoved the desk back so that Brie was pinned in the corner. Stephanie performed the Pedigree on Nkki Bella while Brie was forced to watch.
Stephanie did the Yes! chant. Triple H turned and started doing it in front of Brie, who responded by slapping him. Stephanie slammed Brie's head into the desk and then performed the Pedigree on her as well. Stephanie grabbed Triple H and made out with him in the middle of the ring. Hunter raised her arm to close the show...
Powell's POV: That segment really didn't need to close the show, but it's not like they had a loaded lineup tonight. I like Brie Bella on Total Divas, but her wrestler persona remains rather wooden and she struggles to keep the fans behind her. I don't think Stephanie tearing into her was the right approach, as it just doesn't seem like the fans are totally with her yet. That said, I expect them to be at SummerSlam simply because Stephanie has so much heat. I hope Stephanie attacking Nikki puts the idea of Nikki turning on her sister at SummerSlam to rest. Overall, a show that lacked the SummerSlam main eventers, yet managed to hold my interest even if it wasn't a particularly memorable edition of Raw.
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